MP3 Suzanne Brewer - Prone to Wander
Thought provoking lyrics portrayed through an eclectic mix of soulful vocals and jazz/folk influenced piano arrangements
11 MP3 Songs
FOLK: like Joni, JAZZ: Jazz Vocals
Listening to California native Suzanne Brewer seems almost intrusive into something very intimate and secretive, like a diary. Many great authors of the past kept journals, and we now have the privilege of reading their innermost thoughts in books found on shelves of a library or bookstore. Such books are treasures, as is Brewer''s CD, Prone to Wander. Reading her lyrics might remind you of flipping through pages of a leather-bound journal, each word imprinted on paper by fluid ink. Her writings meander through various emotions, and the music matches those moods, creating a very contemplative and empathetic musical experience.
The album begins with the cautious, jazzy strains of piano before Brewer''s voice enters as soft as a velvet pillow, yet arresting at the same time. Each word cushions a somber tone, pensive and poetic. Her smooth, golden voice (reminiscent of Over the Rhine''s Karin Bergquist) and the gentle piano form a pair that perfectly compliment one another. Much like the human heart, there is a natural shift to a different mood in the next song, "Again." Suzanne''s voice effortlessly grooves along with rhythmic hand claps and bluesy electric guitar, creating a kind of jazz fusion. This song brims with hope and beauty:
I can''t deny these frequent flames that fly through this lavender light
I can only hope this day will stay spray painted on the night
Another song, "Feather," takes an unexpected turn and explodes into a ska-influenced tune, replete with whimsical trumpet and drums. The instrumental break is festive and fun, with a discordant medley of horns. Then Brewer veers back into her strongest style, quiet and resigned during the Norah Jones-esque song, "Let Me Know." Emotion and vulnerability drip off of every word, her lyrics begging for consolation as she pleads, "So let me know, just let me know, I''m not here alone."
"Melancholy Maybe," is quite stirring, opening with steady, rolling drums, commanding a call to listen. Brewer is bold in her assertions, yet content with mystery in what she does not know. It is similar to a journal entry in which you have certain things figured out, but you know there is much left to the unknown. Brewer reveals her human nature penning such lines:
I have this commission
to write a wandering melody
but I''m late with my words again
and I finish with nothing
after starting with everything
a so called righteous mission
A few more songs pass like anticipated pages, one titled "Be" that is again framed by piano, in Sarah McLachlan style. Brewer closes her "diary" with the words of a great British saint of history, Robert Robinson who wrote the now famous hymn, "Come Thou Fount." The lyrics have blessed many throughout the centuries, including Brewer who belts out the song a capella as if she is uttering an earnest prayer. The way she sings and phrases each line hints that all of the wanderings of her heart and mind finally find a place to rest.
-- Jenni Simmons